The service encounter depends on the interaction between consumer and company, with an active role for the consumer as a participant. Building on existing literature, this article argues that language influences how consumers perceive the service encounter in several important ways. In turn, service providers and service researchers must understand the impact of the language used before, during, and after the service encounter. Across these three phases, 11 propositions pertaining to language use help clarify the service encounter, the role of the consumer in services, and how consumers are influenced by language. These propositions also offer ways forward for service research to study the influence of language use on the service encounter. From a managerial perspective, this article highlights language as an increasingly important challenge and suggests ways for companies to meet this challenge.
PurposeThe market for luxury is growing rapidly. While there is a significant body of literature on luxury goods, academic research has largely ignored luxury services. The purpose of this article is to open luxury services as a new field of investigation by developing the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings to build the luxury services literature and show how luxury services differ from both luxury goods and from ordinary (i.e. non-luxury) services.Design/methodology/approachThis paper uses a conceptual approach drawing upon and synthesizing the luxury goods and services marketing literature.FindingsThis article makes three contributions. First, it shows that services are largely missing from the luxury literature, just as the field of luxury is mostly missing from the service literature. Second, it contrasts the key characteristics of services and related consumer behaviors with luxury goods. The service characteristics examined are non-ownership, IHIP (i.e. intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, and perishability), the three additional Ps of services marketing (i.e. people, processes, and physical facilities) and the three-stage service consumption model. This article derives implications these characteristics have on luxury. For example, non-ownership increases the importance of psychological ownership, reduces the importance of conspicuous consumption and the risk of counterfeiting. Third, this article defines luxury services as extraordinary hedonic experiences that are exclusive whereby exclusivity can be monetary, social and hedonic in nature, and luxuriousness is jointly determined by objective service features and subjective customer perceptions. Together, these characteristics place a service on a continuum ranging from everyday luxury to elite luxury.Practical implicationsThis article provides suggestions on how firms can enhance psychological ownership of luxury services, manage conspicuous consumption, and use more effectively luxury services' additional types of exclusivity (i.e. social and hedonic exclusivity).Originality/valueThis is the first paper to define luxury services and their characteristics, to apply and link frameworks from the service literature to luxury, and to derive consumer insights from these for research and practice.
Purpose -The importance of the mutual interaction between consumers and the company in service encounters is widely recognised, but researchers have usually presumed that both parties are able to interact with each other. That is not always the case. If they do not share a common language, it may have consequences for the service encounter. This paper aims to analyze consumer language preferences across four language groups. Design/methodology/approach -Quantitative and qualitative studies are conducted among bilingual speakers of four languages (English/French and Finnish/Swedish) in two countries (Canada and Finland). Study 1 is a quantitative analysis of the degree of importance that respondents in the various language groups attach to the use of their first language in a variety of service encounters. Study 2 is a qualitative examination of the factors that determine the preferences expressed in Study 1. Findings -Use of first language in service encounters is preferred by consumers in all four language groups. However, the reasons for preferring first-language use differ between countries. Language is shown to have emotional connotations for consumers that go beyond mere communication. Originality/value -This is the first study of the role of language in service encounters among consumers from different countries.
While many service management and marketing concepts stress the importance of the interaction between a customer and a service provider, prior research devotes relatively little attention to the role of language use in services. This article describes the importance of broadening understanding of this issue and reviews prior research in this area. Next, this article introduces the articles in this special section. Although these articles individually and collectively contribute to a better understanding of the role of language use in services, we contend that much still needs to be learned. In order to assist researchers in their exploration of this topic, this article ends with a future research agenda that might inspire researchers to expand on the boundaries of knowledge on language use in services.
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